Faculty Dedicates 5th Book to Students

The Rev. Dr. Kent Eilers, professor of theology at Huntington University, has published his fifth book, Reading Theology Wisely: A Practical Introduction.

“Eilers takes a well-rounded approach to his subject [theology], utilizing Scripture and the wisdom of past thinkers as well as references to film and the arts—including a special emphasis on architecture as part of an ongoing metaphor of ‘inhabiting texts’ as we do physical spaces,” said the publisher, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, in the book’s online description. “Each chapter ends with a prayer and questions for reflection and discussion, followed by a ‘theology lab’ in which readers can put the content of the preceding chapter into practice.”

“I wrote to make the activity of reading theology more human and more communal,” said Eilers, pointing out that students often experience reading as an individual activity, and the words on the page seem to drop from nowhere. But reading theology is actually something intensely personal yet impactful for entire communities.

“I also wanted to help students connect the activity of reading theology with everything else they care about and do as Christians,” he said, citing an excerpt from the book:

“What if reading theology wasn’t mainly about grades or about our minds apart from life with God and with our neighbors? What if reading theology was about expanding our view of God, deepening our delight in his fellowship, moving us closer to our true selves in Christ, seeing our neighbors more as Jesus does, and propelling us into God’s works of justice and mercy? And what if it could even draw you closer to other Christians, generating life-giving conversations rather than division?” 

This book was a multiyear project, including time spent working in close collaboration with artist Chris Koelle. Koelle created an original work of visual art for each chapter that, according to Eilers, “enlivens the experience for the reader. Concepts and ideas spring off the page with the help of Chris’ art!”

But perhaps most remarkable about this book is its dedication: “For my students.”

“Everything in the book I learned through the regular practice of reading theology in communities of hardworking students, many at Huntington,” said Eilers. “My students were integral to the development of this book, and everything in it springs from my experience teaching theology over many years.”

Eilers book is available online at https://www.eerdmans.com/Products/8178/reading-theology-wisely.aspx.